Mumbai: Relay Fast to Begin at Ambewadi Golibar for Land and Housing Rights

January 21, 2013

Relay Fast to Begin at Ambewadi Golibar, Mumbai
Police Act as Agents of Builders Against People
State Government and People’s Commission Enquiry Continues in SRA Corruption
GBGB Supports the Struggle of Slumdwellers in Bangalore against Evictions at EWS Quarters

Mumbai, January 20 : On the first day of the New Year, Mumbai witnessed a storm of people marching the streets for land and housing rights. A renewed struggle against Land Scam involving corrupt builders, illegal demolition and impeachment of housing rights began when thousands of poor belonging to slums across Mumbai, gathered at Govandi and Golibar to start their long march on foot to demand implementation of Rajeev Awas Yojana as self- development towards right to shelter, and to fight against atrocities faced by them.

The march reached VT station on 02 Jan, 2013, there was heavy deployment of rapid action force and police, who had surrounded the whole VT area, Azad Maidan and blocked most roads going towards Mantralaya. It was quite ironical as this was a march that was marching on the Gandhian path of non-violent protest. After much negotiation with authorities at Mantralaya and police, the marchers finally reached AzadMaidan.

On 5th January, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan started a relay fast for 24 hours to demand land and housing rights, at 1 pm by 30 representatives of various slums as well as middle class localities across Mumbai participating in the fast while more than 5,000 people continued their sit-in throughout the day at Azad Maidan in Mumbai.

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan withdrew its 10 days long agitation, after having received certain concrete promises and directions for investigations in the issues related to of corruption in respect of housing rights and land scams throughout Mumbai. The State Government has agreed to conduct an enquiry through the Principal Secretary, Housing into SRA projects in 6 localities- Golibar, Ambedkar Nagar, Mulund, Ramnagar-Ghatkopar, Chandivali, Sion-koliwada and Indira-nagar Jogeshwari, defining the modus operandis involving all stakeholders and holding public hearings.

The State has also taken and conveyed a firm decision to take RAY ahead and Mandala RAY project proposal to the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

While the Andolan was going on, all the things were moving on the right path. However, within a few days of withdrawal of the agitation and announcement of inquiry in the 6 SRA projects having approval on fraudulency and involving irregularities and illegalities, the harassment of the people have been started by the henchmen of developers under the tight police protection. Few examples of this harassment are cutting of public water supply and locking the doors of fencing compound just to block the way of local residents of Sion Koliwada. No cognizance was taken by Police and MCGM Authorities for this.

In Golibar, Ambewadi, on 18 Jan, 2013, developer with help of his 70-80 henchmen entered to fence the demolished area where the henchmen started assaulting the women with stone and bamboos to vacate the place. These women were badly assaulted and were admitted in hospital as they were severely injured. Nirmal Nagar Police Station has not taken any cognizance of the matter and was playing pro-builder role. On contrary, FIR has been registered in the favour of the developer’s henchmen and against the people who have raised their voice against the injustice. Demolition ride is still going on in different parts of slums.

Protesting against all the above mentioned injustice and harassment, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan with various slums as well as middle class localities across Mumbai has decided to continue and even intensify the struggle by starting Relay Fast today at 3pm, at Ambewadi Golibar, Mumbai, to reach out on the deaf ears of Government Authorities for our rights and justice.

Even though the Apex Authorities are issuing the orders of certain investigations but the sub-ordinates are least bothered to implement and follow the directions given by their Senior Authorities.

The struggle of Mumbai’s slum dwellers and those affected by corruption in Slum Rehabilitation and Re-development, continues at Ambewadi Golibar, Mumbai. We also stand in solidarity with the slumdwellers of Bangalore who are facing evictions and police repression at EWS quarters at Ejipura by BBMP. We demand that illegal demolitions by state will be resisted at all costs and we will stand in solidarity wherever homes will be demolished across the country.

Andolan demands that Maharashtra Government takes firm and concrete decisions, investigates into corruption and irregularities as well as Government should also carry out inquiry on Police Administration & Authorities for providing police protection to private bodies and for not even taking cognizance of the effected people and until then, people are determined to continue.

Sumit Wajale, Sandeep Yeole, Ajit bhau, Dattaram Tandel, Sushant Gumre, Madhuri Shivkar